Financial Management Tips to Twosomes - The Couple's Money Meeting
Talking about money and money problems as a couple isn’t always easy. One solution FamilyMeans Consumer Credit Counseling Service suggests is a "Money Meeting." These meetings are an opportunity for couples to sit down and discuss their financial situation together, money problems and all, and work towards a team approach in dealing with them. Here's how it works.
For some couples it may come naturally, while for others it can be a headache, where it sometimes feels easier to handle a couples financial issues on your own. Many will do this to avoid getting into an argument or to cause more stress over money. But when one person carries the weight of managing the couple's finances, it can weigh heavily on everyone's shoulders. And when one person resolves to handle all of the day-to-day transactions, the other person may feel left out or appear not to care. Assumptions can be made about each other when it comes to couples and money, and more often than not those assumptions are false. It might sound like “He/She doesn’t care about our money” or “He/She is spending all of our money on themself.”
These feelings can often be avoided by holding regular Money Meetings. At these meetings, couples are able to bring their financial issues to the table to discuss, make decisions together, and build a team approach to learn how the finances are handled in your relationship.
These Money Meetings are a place for the bill payer in the couple to get support. It’s a place for the partner who doesn’t handle the daily money transactions to provide input. It’s the place where both people in the relationship make a contribution to the finances - most impoartantly - in their own way. It’s a place to talk, listen, and be heard. It’s a place to understand how the money is working (or not working) in your relationship.
Money Meetings are a place to find solutions. These meetings are not a place to argue. This isn't to say that strong feelings won’t be felt at times, but that’s where ground rules come into play. Take a break if the tension gets high and cool off for a few minutes. It isn’t a place to blame. Not that mistakes won’t happen in managing the money. Money Meetings are places to talk about what happened and to figure out how to get back on track. They aren't place to show up and be physically present, but not contribute to the meeting. It’s a commitment. A commitment to be there for each other, to learn how to handle the money matters in your relationship. And it takes more than one meeting.
Here is one financial related tip to get you on track with your partner: Schedule your first 60 minute Money Meeting. Set ground rules and adhere to these rules. If decisions need to be made make sure each person has all of the details and information ahead of time. Be open-minded about the process and know it might feel awkward at first and know that it will take time to get used to this idea as you go along. Try not to bring all of the money stress to the table for the first meeting. Remember, it’s not a place to dump all of your concerns on your partner. Instead, bring a sense of willingness to begin addressing the issue of your finances. Money Meetings might get scheduled every week or every two weeks at first, especially for those who don’t have a budget in place and who don’t talk about money.
At FamilyMeans and our Consumer Credit Counseling Service department, we can help you put together a doable budget and can help provide an action plan for handling debt. But we can also get you started on your first Money Meeting with tips, suggestions, and helpful resources. Contact us today to get started, or check out our events calendar to see when our next "Money Tips for Twosomes" group session will occur.